The Work/Health Insurance Nexus: A Weak Link for Mexican-Origin Men


  • *Direct all correspondence to Ronald Angel, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Sociology, 460 Burdine, Austin, TX 78712 〈〉. This research was supported, in part, by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants 5 R24 HD042849 and 2 T32 HD007081 awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.


Objectives. The employment-based health insurance system of the United States means that those individuals who are disadvantaged in the labor market are also disadvantaged in terms of health insurance coverage. The Mexican-origin population has historically been disadvantaged in both domains. We examine the extent to which low rates of health insurance coverage among Mexican-origin adult male workers are the result of overrepresentation in the types of employment in which coverage is low for everyone.

Methods. We use logistic regression models to analyze data from 80,827 employed Mexican-origin, African-American, and non-Hispanic white men in the 2004 and 2006 Current Population Surveys.

Results. The results suggest that although such overrepresentation contributes to low rates of coverage among Mexican-origin workers, even within employment sectors, industries, and occupations, Mexican-origin workers are less likely to have coverage than non-Hispanic whites or African Americans.

Conclusions. These results make it clear that the health insurance vulnerability of the Mexican-origin population reflects multiple barriers to coverage in addition to those related to employment.